Eagles

NFL Notes: Kam Chancellor signs 3-year extension with Seahawks

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NFL Notes: Kam Chancellor signs 3-year extension with Seahawks

RENTON, Wash. -- Kam Chancellor wore a wry grin, knowing that a day earlier when he was peppered about his contract status and future with the Seattle Seahawks that all those questions were about to be answered.

"I didn't want to tell you all," Chancellor said with a chuckle. "But I had an idea it was pretty close. Both sides were positive and it turned around great."

The Seahawks' starting strong safety signed a three-year extension Tuesday that will keep him with the only club he's ever played for through the 2020 season and creates the possibility that Chancellor will retire having played only in Seattle.

Chancellor's new deal is worth up to $36 million with $25 million guaranteed, a hefty payday for a 29-year-old whose physical style of play has led to big hits but also a variety of injuries during his career.

Tuesday's announcement was a stark change from two years ago when Chancellor was a training camp holdout because he was unhappy with his contract.

"I don't think the relationship ever fell off. I think it was just a process. The past was the past and I put that behind me two years ago and it worked," Chancellor said. "We're here today back to where we started, both sides in a great agreement. Bygones be bygones. I'm ready to play football" (see full story).

NFL: OT Clady retiring after 9 seasons
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Ryan Clady, the talented and towering tackle whose nine-year NFL career was checkered with injuries, is retiring from football.

"I'm excited about what life holds for me going forward," Clady wrote Tuesday on Twitter, where he thanked the Broncos and team owner Pat Bowlen for bringing him to an organization where he was "blessed to experience eight great years, four Pro Bowls and a world championship."

The Broncos selected him 12th overall in the 2008 draft out of Boise State, where Clady made a pivotal block on the Statue of Liberty 2-point conversion play that stunned Oklahoma in the January 2007 Fiesta Bowl.

Among a dying breed of plug-and-play tackles in the NFL before colleges turned so heavily to spread offenses, Clady allowed just half a sack in his first 20 NFL games.

But injuries slowed him down and the two-time All-Pro missed both of Denver's Super Bowl appearances in recent years, first with a foot injury and then with a knee injury (see full story).

Panthers: Newton (shoulder) held out of practice
SPARTANBURG, S.C. -- Panthers quarterback Cam Newton was held out of passing drills with soreness in surgically repaired right throwing shoulder.

Coach Ron Rivera said Newton told the training staff prior to Tuesday's practice that he was still sore from last week's workouts. Newton was suited up, but only worked on handoffs.

Rivera said, "We figured why push it? Why have him throw with a sore arm -- and make it even sorer?"

Newton missed the final portion of practice Sunday with some soreness in the shoulder. The Panthers had Monday off, so he'd been expected to return to work.

Rivera hasn't decided whether Newton will play in the Aug. 9 preseason opener against the Houston Texans.

Newton had surgery in March to repair a partially torn rotator cuff.

Ravens: Gillmore likely out for season
OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Baltimore Ravens tight end Crockett Gillmore will likely miss the 2017 season after undergoing knee surgery.

Gillmore tore the medial collateral ligament in his right knee during practice Friday when he landed awkwardly trying to catch a sideline pass. He spiked his helmet before limping to the locker room.

Coach John Harbaugh said Monday that Gillmore probably will be out at least five months. But Harbaugh added: "We're going to be fine. We've got a lot of good players."

A 2014 third-round pick from Colorado State, Gillmore was bothered by a hamstring injury last year and played only seven games. He finished with eight catches for 71 yards and a touchdown.

The 6-foot-6, 266-pounder was anticipating extensive action this year after 2016 starter Dennis Pitta sustained a season-ending hip injury in June and Darren Waller was suspended a year for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy.

Jaguars: RB Mathers carted off field
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jacksonville Jaguars running back I'Tavius Mathers was strapped to a board and carried off the practice field Tuesday after experiencing "neurological symptoms."

Mathers collided with defenders during training camp drills. He raised both arms as trainers removed his jersey. He was taken to a hospital for further evaluation, and the Jaguars say he was conscious during the move.

Mathers is a 5-foot-11, 203-pound rookie from Murfreesboro, Tennessee. He spent three years at Mississippi before transferring to Middle Tennessee State for the 2016 season. He ran for 1,561 yards and 17 touchdowns as a senior last year, averaging more than 120 yards a game.

Eagles-Giants thoughts: Intrigue surrounds Nick Foles' 1st start

Eagles-Giants thoughts: Intrigue surrounds Nick Foles' 1st start

Eagles-Giants
1 p.m. on FOX
Eagles -8

A game that until recently looked like a speedbump on the Eagles’ path to the playoffs has all of a sudden become a matchup of intrigue and mystery.

NFC East rivalry or not, the 11-2 Eagles were expected to dispatch the 2-11 Giants with relative ease, and still very well may. However, the season’s second meeting between the two teams has taken on a decidedly different feel now that it will feature Nick Foles under center for the Birds.

It’s become appointment viewing for an Eagles fan base collectively holding its breath, hoping to catch a glimpse into whether Foles possesses the ability to lead the team deep into the postseason.

Foles has made 36 career NFL starts – seven more than the quarterback he replaces, Carson Wentz – and has appeared in 46 games total, most of that with the Eagles. Nonetheless, the sixth-year veteran is viewed as something of an unknown entity. Foles was productive for several seasons, even historically prolific, but also lost a pair of starting jobs, nearly playing himself out of the league along the way.

Now in his second stint with the Eagles, the question is which version of Foles are the Eagles getting this time around, and can they still reach the Super Bowl with a new signal caller? We will begin to get some answers Sunday afternoon at MetLife Stadium.

In a position to succeed
Regardless of whether Foles is up to the challenge, it wouldn’t hurt the Eagles’ chances if they were able to finish what they started and earn the No. 1 seed in the playoffs. That could actually happen as early as Sunday.

A win over the Giants and a Vikings loss to the Bengals would be enough to clinch a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the postseason. Even if the Vikings don’t lose this week, the Eagles can secure the top seed in the conference with any two wins over the Giants, Raiders or Cowboys over the final three games. Of the three remaining opponents, only the Cowboys are currently above .500 at 7-6.

In other words, Foles shouldn’t have to do much heavy lifting until the postseason, while the Eagles can make his job a little easier in January if they take care of business down the stretch.

With a little help from his friends
Foles has been under the microscope all week, and the backup quarterback has been examined from just about every angle. There’s nothing much more to say about the Eagles from the offense’s standpoint, at least until we’ve seen it action.

The group that’s flying under the radar in the aftermath of the injury to Wentz is the defense. Even the unit’s role in last week’s 43-35 win over the Rams has been overlooked to a degree, despite coming up huge in the fourth quarter.

After allowing the Rams to go up and down the field for the better part of the contest, the Eagles made two pivotal stops after Wentz’s exit. A Chris Long strip sack set up the game-winning field goal and that was followed by a quick three-and-out that allowed Foles and the offense to milk nearly the entire final two minutes of regulation.

That was against the No. 2 scoring offense in the NFL, and though the Eagles did surrender 35 points, the defense stepped up when it mattered.

Wentz might be out, but the Eagles’ defense still ranks first against the run, 13th against the pass, fourth in total yards, fifth in scoring and is tied for third in takeaways entering the week. This isn’t all on Foles and the offense. They are more than capable of limiting or completely shutting down an opponent.

Coming up short?
The one area of the offense that might be worth keeping an eye out moving forward is on third downs. The Eagles are third in the NFL with a 45.3 percent conversion rate, and Wentz just seemed to have a knack for making something happen even during third-and-long situations, often keeping the play alive or simply making a clutch throw.

Foles did find Nelson Agholor for a huge third-down conversion against the Rams, but Wentz has been uncanny in those situations. Foles is far less likely to extend a play with his feet, and he’s far more willing to make a safe throw to a checkdown receiver and live with a punt.

Perhaps more than anything else this season, that ability to keep drives alive was what made Wentz so dangerous and so difficult to defend. When it seemed the Eagles’ backs were against the wall, he’d throw a strike, or run around and find somebody or pick up the first down himself.

No matter what happens, the offense won’t be the same without Wentz. The guy is special. But on third down in particular, there was a feeling no distance was too far, and a conversion was inevitable – and on occasion, it would break the will of opposing defenses.

The Eagles better get used to the idea of running on first and second down to create manageable thirds, punting when it’s not there and playing defense. Foles will do fine, but he’s not quite an unstoppable force, unlike Wentz.

Giants are a disaster, but Torrey Smith, Eagles are focused

Giants are a disaster, but Torrey Smith, Eagles are focused

It took him 13 games to do it, but wide receiver Torrey Smith finally had a 100 -yard receiving day last week against the Rams.

Smith and the rest of the Eagles' offense must get used to new field leadership. He and I talked about Carson Wentz, Nick Foles and the New York Giants.

Gunn: As soon as you get the word that Carson Wentz is done for the season, what was your initial thought?

Smith: Because of the way the game went, and I know that he left, Carson is a tough cat so I knew that if he wasn't going to come back to the field, it had to be something serious. And to get a text from him that it was confirmed, you see it happen all the time in this league. It's a tough blow not only for our team, but also for him as an individual. He works his tail off, and he deserves nothing but the best. It was definitely tough.

Gunn: Now it's Nick Foles' show. How much work have you gotten in with him this year, and what's the guys' confidence level that he can get the job done?

Smith: I've worked with him a little but we're all comfortable with Foles. We're comfortable with him as a player and comfortable with him as a person. He knows the offense. He knows the system. This isn't his first year in it, and he had the whole offseason. So I think we're in a great place. It's not too many teams that have a quarterback that's thrown seven touchdowns in a game, so we are ready to roll with him.

Gunn: You guys are facing a Giants team, let's face it, that is a flat-out mess right now. Dead last in the league defensively in yards allowed per game, 31st in passing yards allowed, 31st in run defense and 27th in points allowed. Your offense is going to have a field day against this defense.

Smith: Only if we make it that way. Numbers don't mean anything. In football, you have to go out and prove it every Sunday, and that's a team we have a lot of respect for. They have a lot of talent over there. Obviously, they're going through some things as an organization, coaching changes, but I tell you what, I've been on that side of the fence, and I know how hungry they are to prove it. They don't like seeing headlines or getting tweets about how terrible they are each and every day. They're out there working their tails off just like we are. We have to make sure we're bringing it on gameday.

The expanded version of my Gunn on One with Smith can be seen on Eagles Pre Game Live Sunday between 12-1 p.m. on NBC Sports Philadelphia.